Can you spot a 'cat's tail' in this young planetary system. See pic | Trending - Hindustan Times
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Can you spot a 'cat's tail' in this planetary system located 63 light-years from the Earth? See pic

ByVrinda Jain
Feb 19, 2024 09:18 PM IST

As the space agency shared the picture, they informed “the edge-on disc of dusty debris generated by collisions between planetesimals dominates the view.”

European Space Agency (ESA) shared an intriguing picture of a young planetary system called Beta Pictoris, located just 63 light-years away from the Earth. The image depicts a dust disc resulting from collisions between asteroids, comets, and planetesimals. Adding a fascinating twist, ESA also shared that there is a 'cat's tail' in this system.

Beta Pictoris, a young planet which is located just 63 light-years away from the Earth. (Instagram/@ESA)
Beta Pictoris, a young planet which is located just 63 light-years away from the Earth. (Instagram/@ESA)

As the space agency shared the picture, they informed in the caption that "the edge-on disc of dusty debris generated by collisions between planetesimals (orange) dominates the view. A hotter secondary disc (cyan) is inclined by about 5 degrees relative to the primary disc. The curved feature at the upper right, which the science team nicknamed the 'cat’s tail,' has never been seen before. A coronagraph (black circle and bar) has been used to block the light of the central star, whose location is marked with a white star shape." (Also Read: NASA shares never-seen-before picture of frozen seawater on Earth taken from ISS)

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While explaining more about the 'cat's tail,' ESA wrote, "The team’s preferred model explains the sharp angle of the tail away from the disc as a simple optical illusion. Our perspective combined with the curved shape of the tail creates the observed angle of the tail, while in fact, the arc of material is only departing from the disc at a five-degree incline. Taking into consideration the tail’s brightness, the team estimates the amount of dust within the cat’s tail to be equivalent to a large main belt asteroid spread out across 16 billion kilometres."

Take a look at the post here:

This post was shared a day ago on Instagram. Since being posted, it has garnered close to 11,000 likes. Many took to the comments section of the post to express their fascination with the 'cat's tail.'

Check out how people reacted:

An individual wrote, "The 'cat's tail' could be the trace of something that collided in a relatively recent time with the Beta Pictoris system. If quite small and fast, its residuals could be difficult to see."

A second added, "Interesting information, thanks."

A third commented, "Wow, I didn't know it was this close to us. I remember reading about it when I was younger in an encyclopedia."

"It's a great big and amazing universe," said a fourth.

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